Posted tagged ‘walking’

Open Public Service White Paper: A Matrimonial View

July 20, 2011

Are they also discussing public service reform?

Its guest post time on WLLG and today’s post features the sort of ‘walking through the park’ conversation that would have Mr WLLG rolling his eyes. However, our guest poster uses an early evening stroll to try to get to grips with the risks and pitfalls of public service reform, coalition style. We think he does a good job:

The other day my wife and I were discussing public service reform as we strolled through our local park in the early evening sunshine. My wife is on maternity leave with our first born and has, through listening to radio 4 more regularly and utilising local services as a young mother, become more engaged in the political debates around public services.

She asked, prompted by the news of the new Open Public Service White Paper, what the incentive was for opening up public services to competition.

I said the short answer that proponents would give was that greater competition between providers to improve cost efficiency and to drive up quality. I said that there were already examples of many services being delivered by providers other than the state or local government. We then discussed the issue of how alternative providers can make money by offering economies of scale and more efficient ways of working that could allow them a margin to make a profit. Once Southern Cross entered the discussion, the subject of risk reared it’s arguably ugly head.

I quoted from a recent newspaper article that had, through FOI, retrieved some research commissioned for the Government that suggested one of the ways that private companies are able to make money is their ability to enter and leave a market at speed.

When an opportunity presents itself a fleet footed company will want to get in, without massive set up costs, and take advantage. If at some point an activity becomes less successful and unprofitable then the business can close down and invest its capital in more successful ventures.

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On the tenth day of Christmas our bloggers gave to me

January 1, 2011

A reprint of our first ever blog post:

Today we got given a flyer and sent an e-mail about a lunch-time walk.  This certainly sounds nice on the face of it – a scenic stroll next to the river in the company of interesting colleagues and in decent (if not fine) weather.

That, my friends, is where Local Government kicked in.

If we wanted to take part in this walk firstly we had to register our interest.  Register interest?!  It’s a walk for crying out loud!!!  What possible reason could there be for registering interest in walking from a to b – if we are interested then we’ll just do it!

Of course that wasn’t all, we also were told we had to fill in a form.  For walking.  Seriously, I know Councils like forms like the average man likes a Pussy Cat Dolls video, but what information about walking could they possibly hope to garner?  “do you start usually with the left foot or the right?” perhaps, or “What is your preferred direction of walking: forwards, sideways or backwards?”.

That’s not all.  Each walk will have a leader.  Should you wish to lead a walk yourself you will need to go on a training course first.  Never fear however, as they have a shortened version of the course which only takes three hours.  I know it took me a good eight or nine months to learn how to walk first time around, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got it down pat by now.

We are seriously considering being rebels and going for a walk at the same time along the same path but not going through this rigmoral.  Most of us don’t even particularly like walking, but it’s the principal of the thing after all!

How far we’ve come…